BLOG: August 2008 - Arriving in Bekoji
"Bekoji is a five or six hour drive from Addis, a journey made longer by the tortuous last 50km of mud road. The tarmac runs out at the southern edge of the town of Assela, and a potholed murran track carries you across a wide plain and up towards Bekoji's hills and mountains."

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"There's something about the main road running out that takes you into a more alien land, where there's much more reaction to the passing foreigner - mostly a shout of 'China', because the Chinese are the most frequent foreign visitors to these parts. It's rumoured Chinese workers are to start building a new tarmac road from Assela - a development that will transform the area, linking it up to the traffic from the capital to the cities in the south.

"We meet up with Bekoji's principal coach, Sentayehu Eshetu. Sentayehu generously shows us around and introduces us to a group of young people he's selected who are interested in taking part in the film. To make documentaries you have to become something of an insider to the world you show - and we hope that Sentayehu is our way to understanding and gaining trust in this community.

"Sentayehu is an enigmatic figure, both humble about his own phenomenal achievements but firm about his expectations of the children who come to train with him 'You can teach people running skills, but not motivation", he says. He talks of one girl in his core group who has been visited by the Evil Eye, which has prevented her from running - a reminder that alongside Islam and Christianity, this is still an area in which beliefs about spirits and magic exert a strong influence. Sentayehu's role is inevitably complex in a town where opportunities to train and compete are highly prized."

Bright Systems Ltd